His words clutched like a drowning man's embrace
Those nights he spilled his secrets on my porch.
I helped him sort them, find each fear a place
Within the sanctuary of his church,
Others' opinions. Crying at times, he swore
I was the only person he could trust.
I reassured him that his private war
Was safe between us, and that problems must
Deliver change. On that score I was right:
By winter he'd stopped calling, and I heard
Through mutual friends that he took great
In quoting me for laughs. And yet I guard
His secrets, rocking on my porch alone,
Each hour imagining I hear the phone.
2001; originally printed in the Formalist.
by permission of the author.